Saskatoon StarPhoenix

DUCKS GO ON OFFENCE

Score in bunches on Oilers

- ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI rtychkowsk­i@postmedia.com twitter.com/sun_tychkowski

There will be a Game 5. With the Edmonton Oilers up 2-0 coming home and fans daring to dream that their team might sweep its way into the Western Conference final, the Anaheim Ducks sent a loud and clear message Sunday: This thing is a long way from over.

The visiting Ducks took a hostile crowd out of the game early and took the Oilers out of it late by scoring three goals in the first period and three goals down the stretch en route to a convincing 6-3 Game 3 victory at Rogers Place.

Edmonton will put the last of its breathing room on the line in Game 4 on Wednesday.

Both sides knew coming in that the difference between 3-0 and 2-1 in a playoff series is somewhere between crucial and astronomic­al, resulting in a level of desperatio­n that made for some thrilling playoff hockey — in the second period, anyway. The first and third were all Ducks.

The expectatio­n for Game 3 made for an earth-shaking atmosphere that rivalled anything the fans produced in 2006. Oilers partisans did their part by singing both national anthems when Brett Kissel and Robert Clark had their mikes go out.

It was an inspiring scene that let the Ducks know before the puck even dropped that if they wanted this game, they would have to get through some of the most passionate fans in sports.

Then the puck dropped, and the bottom fell out of the first period like garbage through a wet paper bag.

Just 25 seconds into the first period, it was 1-0 Ducks. At 5:33, it was 2-0. At 11:51, the Ducks were up three-zip.

Just like that, Rickard Rakell, Jacob Silfverber­g and Ryan Getzlaf were all on the board.

Game over, right? Not quite. The Oilers weren’t done by a long shot.

Patrick Maroon and Anton Slepyshev scored goals 2:08 apart late in the first and early in the second and Connor McDavid brought down the house with the goal of the playoffs, deking Sami Vatanen into the middle of next week and putting the tying goal under the crossbar at 8:40.

The Oilers were going to ride their momentum to victory, right? Not quite.

Just 48 seconds after McDavid’s highlight of the night, Chris Wagner — he of 10 career NHL goals — snuck one through Cam Talbot and the building fell silent again.

It was 4-3 Ducks after 40 minutes. Anaheim pulled away in the third on Silfverber­g ’s second of the night, which stood after an offside video review, and one from Ryan Kesler.

Just 25 seconds into the first period, it was 1-0 Ducks. At 5:33, it was 2-0. At 11:51, the Ducks were up three-zip.

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 ?? DAVID BLOOM ?? Anaheim Ducks teammates Hampus Lindholm, Chris Wagner and Josh Manson, left to right, celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period in Edmonton on Sunday.
DAVID BLOOM Anaheim Ducks teammates Hampus Lindholm, Chris Wagner and Josh Manson, left to right, celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period in Edmonton on Sunday.

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